By Helen Buck
These notes are from Big Medium’s Creative Standards Seminar in October. This is what I heard and interpreted and may not be completely accurate. If you attended this or other sessions during the event, please share your notes.
SESSION: How to Get into Galleries
Presenter: Chris Cowden, Exec Director at Women and Their Work
Mentioned several times: Sharing your work for free does a disservice to the art community.
1. Research space / range and type of work/ gallery history / who has shown at this gallery and what is their experience.
2. Pace yourself: make note of the shows and galleries to submit your work and remember it takes from 5 to 10 hours to complete a submission if done well
3. DO NOT cold call or just show up and do not mail. Waste of time and money
4. You can call and ask “what is your process” / note, many galleries already have their process noted on their web site.
5. The # 1 most important thing is submitting OUTSTANDING visual images. It’s worth spending the money. If you find a detail within your piece important, you might be able to provide a second image with a close up. Don’t expect the judge to blow up your digital image
6. Artist Statement: don’t overthink/ just be yourself/ talk about your work / keep it to a few well-crafted sentences. Focus on what brings you to work in your craft and how this work is produced
7. Do not denigrate your work or yourself/ be proud of you and your work
8. If the call is for 10 great pieces and you have 4 or 5 / Wait to apply until you have the 10 needed even if it’s next year
9. Don’t get burned out applying everywhere. Be judicious
10. Rejection is part of it. Make it a mind game: ie. I get accepted to 1 out of 10 I apply for therefore 1 rejection brings me closer to acceptance.
11. Yes a website is needed. Make it good and keep it updated. All other social media may help. But beware the time you spend with it.
12. Consistent Authentic Investigation: Chris spoke to honesty when dealing with galleries (Proposal should specify if the work presented are examples and there will be new work in the show or is the submitted work what the gallery can expect)
13. You can have one style. But if you have several styles make them consistently strong as you apply. If you present more than one style, group them with 4 or 5 like styles. (ie: 4 or 5 botanicals and 4 or 5 portraits / 4 or 5 acrylic paintings and 4 or 5 sculptures)
14. Review your rejection letters and look for positive remarks. If you don’t get feedback when rejected you can respectfully ask for remarks. You may not get it but sometimes you will
15. Closing: have faith in your work and keep applying